Monday Memo

December 15th - 19th

Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believeing that it is stupid. -Albert Einstein

Dear Team,

What a great last week was for McGowen! Melanie Burford, Holly Bianchetta, Marci Caldwell, and Michelle Caballero all won MEF grants. Destine Grobe also won a Target field trip grant. Thanks to all of these women who are making great things happen.

Remember that you may wear jeans with a holiday shirt Monday - Thursday of this week. On Friday, please dress up for the holiday parties. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.

Throughout this newsletter, I have included links to articles and information that I believe you will find useful. Read them when you get a chance and let me know if you try any of the ideas.

A staff member made the suggestion to include information about the fundraisers of our children in the Monday Memo so that we would have an opportunity to support the child/event if we chose to do so. At the Team Leader Meeting last week, we agreed that this would be a great way to advertise the event without making anyone feel obligated to participate. In the future, if your child has a fundraiser that you would like to promote, please send me an email with all of the information, and I will be happy to include that for you. Thanks for the great idea, Gaby!

Make today count!


Principal Learning Walks

The next round of Principal Learning Walks will be January 12 - 16, 2014. In this round of learning walks, elementary principals will initially meet at Central Office to frame the purpose of the Learning Walks. During this time, a campus will be randomly selected to visit that day. Participants will then travel to the identified campus for classroom visits. This means that we could be selected to host the Learning Walks on any of those days.

Please review the link below in order to read more about the purpose of principals engaging in this experience and what teachers can expect.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Upcoming OI Trainings

Kinder Science/Social Studies - January 13th
1st Science/Social Studies -January 27th
2nd Science/Social Studies -February 2nd
3rd Science/Social Studies - January 13th
4th Science- January 20th
5th Science - December 11th

Congratulations to our Grant Winners!

Volunteers During After School Duty

If you would like to volunteer to help support our positive behavior notes during dismissal, please click on the link below. A jeans pass will be issued for each volunteer slot that you sign up to serve. Please note that if you are already scheduled to that location as a duty, it would not be appropriate to volunteer for a position the same time you have duty.

District Assessment Windows 3-5

3rd Grade DA2 Diversity: February 6-February 27
4th Grade DA1 Early Colonization: November 14-December 12
4th Grade DA2 So Long Santa Ana: February 13-March 6
5th Grade DA1 American Revolution: November 14-December 12
5th Grade DA2 US Constitution and Bill of Rights: December 15-January 21

RtI Meetings

We will have RtI meetings on Thursday, 12/18.

Below is the template for you to copy and paste into the Tier 3 form in Aware. You will need to paste this template into the "Meeting Summary" section at the bottom of the tier 3 form for each of your tier 3 students. Then, fill in the information for each tier 3 student prior to our RtI meetings on Thursday. The "committee recommendations" will be filled in during the meeting. This will allow for our meetings to be more efficient.

Team leaders, if you haven't already, please send Shiela a prioritized list for your grade level of tier 3 students to be discussed at out meeting by EOD, Wednesday. If time permits, we will then discuss tier 2 students who will need to be considered for being moved to tier 3.

*Remember to paste this template above any previous information already entered in the Meeting Summary section*


Current iStation:

Overall Reading- GE: * (Tier *)

Fluency- GE: * (Tier *)

Current TEMI Results/Improvements:


NI -


QR -



Current Tier 3 Interventions:

Current Progress/Data:

Committee Recommendations:

Warm-Up Wednesdays in January

Each January, we sell Warm-Up Wednesday passes to benefit Special Olympics. The passes are sold for five dollars each. These passes are only good during the month of January. If you would like to purchase a pass, you make buy the from Donna.

Writing Webinar Opportunity

Wonders in STAAR Writing - great for staff learning!

January 13, 3-4:15 pm (Central)

Part 1: Know When to Hold Them, Know When to Fold Them: Making Writing Come Alive!

Part 1 focuses on Narrative and Expository writing. Develop an understanding of Progression and the difference between the Topic and the Charge using a foldable graphic organizer. Help your students learn to use their whole body in the writing process, and they will remember what you have taught them.

January 27, 3:4-15pm (Central)

Part 2: CSI (Comma Splice Investigator): Investigate Revision and Editing Like Never Before!

Part 2 tackles Revising and Editing. Learn how to take spelling, word choice and grammar to an attainable and memorable level by learning symbols that speak louder than labels for parts of speech. See how Comma Drama comes to life and how CSI (Comma Splice Investigators) solves the craziest comma crimes. All of this will lead to amazing sentences and sentence fluency never thought possible!

Click here to find out more!

Vocabulary Instruction

Keir Burke shared this idea with 5th grade point people.

I wanted to share my favorite learning from CAST. I attended a Vocabulary Magic Session, by Joanne Billingsley. I was so impressed with her research and brain based vocabulary session, that I made one of her activities for you to use with students right from the vocabulary cards we already have in Forethought.


1. Cut cards and have students sort into 3 piles, Picture, Word, Definition.

2. Students are in groups of 2-3 and put aside the Word and Definition cards.

3. Students describe to their group what they see in the picture cards. There is no right or wrong, they describe what they see. Describing pictures fires many neurons in the brain and gives ALL students an opportunity to participate without being wrong. They take turns until all the picture cards are described and laid out.

4. Next students take the word cards, read the word out load and put it under or next to the picture they think it goes with, saying " I think this word goes with ____ picture because _______." No one can say anything if they think it is wrong, but only think to themselves unless they are the one who placed the card.

5. Once all the words are matched to cards then they take the definition cards, read the definition cards and place them with the word and picture where they think they belong.

6. Show the Power Point Trailer, with music which research shows fires more neurons in the brain. Groups are now allowed to self correct any that they think are not correct, discussing and coming to a consensus. Self-correction helps students synthesize the words. They will own the academic vocabulary through this process.

Remind for Staff

I have created a Remind for our staff in order to send out just-in-time reminders, last minute notifications of jeans/warm-up days, and/or emergency info. If you haven't already, please click on the link below to join the group.

For a printable version of the calendar, please click on the "Calendar" title above.
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  • Many thanks to the Sunshine Committee for a fun Christmas party! -JL
  • A huge thanks to Nash and the Mrs. for hosting the party! -JL
  • Sylvia - Thanks for covering for me on Friday. It was greatly appreciated. -JL
  • I would like to thank my team for making Friday's meeting possible and for accommodating my schedule yet again. I am very grateful to you all in SO many ways! - Michelle C.

  • Thank you to Amber and Sylvia/JL for the Sonic drink this week. Those two drinks were a big treat! - Michelle C.
  • Thank you Amber, Melanie, and Sylvia for your PD collaborations. I love working with each of you so much! - Michelle C.
  • Thank you to the 3rd grade ELAR team for your time and attention on Thursday for our DRA2 discussion/meeting. You were awesome! - Michelle C.
  • Bobbi – I am so proud of you for diving in and appreciate the analysis of our friend. You are amazing! - Michelle C.
  • Kristi – I can't thank you enough for your help with Kyle. We love you and I really do love my village. - Michelle C.
  • 2nd Grade Team-Thank you for all of your help at the Winter Concert! Your kiddos were awesome and I appreciated you being there!-Holly Bi
  • Jessica and Kristi-Thank you for braving it in my room with the choir the night of the concert. You are both amazing and it really helped me out!-Holly Bi
  • Marci-Thank you for the beautiful artwork and decorations for the program. You rock!-Holly Bi
  • Nick, Gaby, Amanda-Thank you for your help with the concert and decorations (and lights, Gaby!!)-Holly Bi
  • Lori and Krystal-Thank you for being there to help out at the concert:-) I appreciate you!!-Holly Bi
  • Thank you Bravo make the best secretary! You were always active and on top of things!! Bodmer
  • Thank you Nash and Chitwood for problem-solving and fixing behavior management in fifth grade! Bodmer
  • Thank you Bobbette for being my crowd control partner at the winter concert ;) Bodmer
  • Thank you J.D. for all of the work that we got done during extended planning! Bodmer
  • Thanks to the Nash Family for hosting our holiday party again this year. You are very gracious for opening your house for this event each year!! Sunshine Committee

Focus for 2014 - 2015

· Providing all students with at least one year’s growth

· Closing the achievement gaps in our subgroups

· Utilize data to drive instruction

· Collaborative team planning and lesson design to promote higher level thinking and student engagement

· Posting learning and language targets daily in student friendly terms

Happy Birthday!!


Danielle Green - 13th

Nick Relle - 13th

Merlene Hendrickson - 23rd

Krista Selby - 24th

Aly Flint - 25th

Amber Evans - 26th

Kay Novosel - 27th

Save the Date

A-Team's Gift to the Staff

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Opportunities to Support Fundraising Efforts

Thank you to those who have already helped support Abigail this semester. If you are interested, there is still time to order your Yankee Candle and accessories!

Simply click here to see the exciting collection of America's Best Loved Candles™, candle accessories, flameless fragrance and assorted gift wrap. Shop online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – everything is shipped directly to you.

If you don't click on the link listed above, you will need to enter her Group Number 990067751 and her Seller ID Abigail8 in order for her to receive credit.

Click here for my site

If you are having trouble with the above link, you may copy and paste the following link in to your browser:

Our fundraiser will be running through the end of December. Please help me by placing your order before the end of our sale. My group and I really appreciate your support!

Bad Dude Award

While overdue, this week's recipient of the Bad Dude Award is Jenny Snyder. Her work on a daily basis is deserving of this award. The organization of her class and success of her students is amazing, but her performance at camp is what catapults her into hero status. She was a mother, cheerleader, counselor, actress, sherpa, and teacher to her students. She provided them an opportunity to participate, have fun and access the curriculum in the most authentic way. While camp is a unique and fabulous experience for every student. For the children with special needs, it is a hundred times more special. Thank you for giving so much of yourself to make that possible, Jenny.

McKinney ISD's Vision, Mission and Beliefs

Any time we have an idea, concern, solution and/or comment, this is the filter through which we should speak. Let's help each other live up to our vision, mission, and beliefs.


We are a cohesive, diverse community providing engaging learning experiences for all.

We will provide engaging learning experiences so students can become effective communicators, quality contributors and socially responsible citizens.

  • Partnerships between students, parents, community members and staff are foundational to educational success.
  • Positive school culture and a safe environment foster growth.
  • Everyone has inherent value and deserves to be treated with dignity and respect.
  • Learning is an active process requiring engaging tasks and engaging minds.
  • Relevant and authentic experiences ignite continuous, deeper learning.
  • Meaningful relationships enrich learning.
  • Confidence fuels risk taking and higher achievement.
  • Financial stewardship ensures a tomorrow for education.